Hot hatch dilemma: Is it worth waiting for the VW Golf 8 GTI in a world full of options?

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Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Calvin Fisher

The BMW 128ti's turbocharged 2.0-litre engine delivers 180kW and 380Nm.

Volkswagen's Golf GTI TCR also uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre, that makes 213kW and 370Nm.

The Mercedes-AMG A45 S currently holds the mantle as the fastest hot hatch in SA.

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First things first. Grey has really become the sportscar colour of 2021 - as both my test cars came in some variation. As did the Audi RS4 wagon we all recently fell in love with, ditto the Ford Mustang Mach 1.

So, if BMW truly wants to challenge its GTI contemporary, then I'm relieved to see that they've invested so far as the colour palette. To evaluate the BMW 128ti, it's worth remembering what it's challenging here, and that's the title of the ultimate hot hatch.

To qualify, one must first be somewhat affordable and secondly go like hell, as the original GTI was when it was launched four decades or so ago. It basically killed the British roadster as a species and, thirdly, in comparable comfort. In 2021 the GTI still wears the crown for balancing these three factors - price, power and sheer livability.

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

Money matters

My test BMW 128ti retails for R690k while the TCR sold for R669k and look. These are not cheap cars, but then, we're looking at the pinnacle of hot hatchbacks here, and you pay for that privilege.

Shunt and grunt

The BMW 128ti can sprint to 100km/h in just 6.3 seconds thanks to its blown 2.0 delivering 180kW and 380Nm, whilst the extra special TCR makes 213kW and 370Nm. It does the same trip in just 5.6sec and is claimed to top out at 264km/h eventually, so it is a clear winner in performance.

Life aboard

And then lastly, what are these cars like to live with? Sublime, the both of them. Both represent premium offerings, luxuriant insides filled with the latest in tech trends and toys, with absolutely no concessions in the category of safety.

They're also wonderfully goading workspaces for the driver, a blend of limited-edition badges and decals and the mandatory smatterings of carbon fibre.

READ: SA's hot hatch game in for a treat as BMW readies its GTI-rivalling 128ti for local launch

BMW 128ti
2021 BMW 128ti

The elephant in the room

Whilst either of the grey matter will suffice as a pedigree front-wheel-driven hot hatch. They do not exist in a bubble. See, a contender is coming in the shape of the next ACTUAL Golf GTI, the Mk8.

Similar to the 128ti, it will have 180kW and 370Nm and will sprint to 100km/h in 6.4-seconds. But, it should be a masterclass in dynamics and let's be honest, it's still the daddy. But, is it worth waiting for in a world so full of options?

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors/columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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